Weatherwatch: floods across South America after heavy rain

Alessio Martini
Photograph: Sebastião Moreira/EPA

Heavy downpours have continued to batter parts of South America. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the northern provinces of Argentina last Thursday due to widespread flooding. Meanwhile, intense thunderstorms accompanied by hail and at least one tornado hit the province of Cordoba on the previous Sunday. The same system went on to affect Brazil and Paraguay, resulting in landslides and flash-flooding which caused widespread destruction.

This winter has been characterised by above-average temperatures across the northern hemisphere. December had a positive anomaly of 1.29C, and January was the warmest in the last 140 years, with a positive anomaly of 1.50C over the northern hemisphere. Russia has been experiencing the highest anomalies during January and February, mainly due to stronger than usual westerly winds, bringing milder air from the Europe eastwards across Siberia, with most places 5-10C above the seasonal average throughout January and February.

The scenic Oslo to Bergen train line in Norway was closed for two days last week owing to a landslide that resulted in metres of snow over the tracks. The railway reaches its highest point at Finse, 1,222m above sea level, where guests of a local hotel remained isolated for more than two days under an incessant blizzard.